The impact of mental health on financial matters can be great – especially if there is perceived to be a lack of support for those affected.
Fortunately this doesn’t have to be the case. 7 Families is a campaign led by charity Disability Rights UK, which aims to raise public awareness of the financial impact of long term ill health or disability, by monitoring the lives of seven different families impacted by ill health or disability. The families will receive financial, emotional and practical support for one year.
Here Kevin Carr from 7 Families talks more about their aims and the importance of speaking up.
Spotlight on 7 Families
Paul Norbert is 44. He was given a course of medication and diagnosed with bipolar in his mid-20s and has had difficulty working ever since.
According to Bipolar UK 1% to 2% of the population experience a lifetime prevalence of bipolar and recent research suggests as many as 5% of us are on the bipolar spectrum.
“Compared to other health problems bipolar and depression are still often affected by misunderstanding and stigma. It can affect every aspect of your life and your relationships. I want to be open and honest about the condition and help others who might be going through something similar. Many people don’t know what to say but just a few words of kindness can make a difference, even just asking how you are. It is important to get the right diagnosis and accept that treatment is necessary.” said Paul.
Are you struggling? See the places to go and talk
There are a range of places people can go for help and support if they are struggling because of mental distress or a mental health condition.
Your GP is a good place to start – they can talk you through treatment and other support options, which might include medication or talking therapies. The can also refer you to other specialist services.
Mental health charities Rethink and Mind both offer a range of advice and support, including factsheets which you can get from their website. Both organisations also have local groups around the country, so there may be one in your area.
There are some specialist charities too, such as Bipolar UK.
If you are in crisis and are not sure where to turn, you can also call the Samaritans on 08457 909090, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your doctor should also be able to put you in touch with your local mental health crisis team in an emergency.
Are money worries affecting your health? Check out our NHS tool to find out
Financial support for mental health issues
If you need financial support because of a mental health problem, you may qualify for benefits. If you are unable to work you may qualify for ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), which is a benefit for people who are too ill to work.
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) is another benefit which is designed to help disabled people meet the additional costs of living with a disability. This includes people with mental health problems.
If you’re spending a lot of time caring for someone with poor mental health, you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance. Some people find applying for benefits complicated. It’s a good idea to get advice from Citizen’s Advice, a welfare rights advisor or some other expert.
Has mental health issues affected you or your family? Have you been anywhere to get help?
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